This site consists of a long-fallow field with an old airstrip (in poor
condition), which serves as an access road. The area is the only
undeveloped industrial-zoned property in the town. Development
around the fringe of the field has occurred in recent years, while
the center of the field is mowed for the use of radio-controlled
airplanes. Several buildings have been erected along the northern
border. There is an Army depot and a large private building at
the south end. Several acres in the northern portion have been
developed into athletic fields. The site is under a mix of private,
corporate, municipal, and federal ownership.

Ornithological Summary

This site has been an important grassland bird breeding area since
1968. Breeding species include the Northern Harrier (one pair in
2000), American Kestrel (one pair in 1996, 1998, and 2000), Upland
Sandpiper (four in 1996, one in 1999, one in 2001), Horned Lark (seven
in 1997, two in 1998, five in 1999, four in 2000, four in 2001, three in
2004), Savannah Sparrow (20 in 1996, 44 in 1999, 15 in 2000, 12 in 2001,
16 in 2002), Grasshopper Sparrow (six in 1996, 26 in 1999, 10 in 2000, 12
in 2001, eight in 2002, three in 2004), and Eastern Meadowlark (eight
plus in 1996, five in 1997, 16 in 1998, 14 in 1999, 13 in 2000). Henslow?s
Sparrows have been present in spring (one in 1996), and in summer
(one in 2001). Vesper Sparrows have been present in spring (one in 2000,
one in 2004). This is the only historic nesting site of Upland Sandpipers
in the southern Finger Lakes region. During periods of heavy rain,
migrating shorebirds can be found in the puddles that form on the
site; Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs are the most frequent visitors, but
Black-bellied Plovers, American Golden-Plovers, Whimbrels, and
Wilson?s Snipe have also been recorded. The site occasionally hosts
wintering raptors, including Rough-legged Hawks and Snowy Owls
(one in 1993).

Conservation Issues

The construction of athletic fields has already reduced the size of the
area available for grassland birds, and planned increases in commercial
development at the site will further reduce available habitat. Building
construction in recent years has covered at least one known Upland
Sandpiper nesting site. No specific conservation measures have been
taken, except to notify the Town of Horseheads that several statelisted
species occur at the site. Monitoring of grassland species should
continue and a conservation management plan should be developed
that provides for the needs of these birds.

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